Avaya readying channel for latest UCaaS offering

Comms player is working towards an end-of-month launch of its Cloud Office product, with current efforts focused on readying the channel for its release

Avaya is continuing to transform itself into a software and services player, with the communications specialist rolling out more offerings for its channel to head in that direction.

The firm cut the ribbon on its collaboration offering Spaces a few months ago, and is gearing up for the UK launch at the end of the month of its Cloud Office unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution.

Even before the Covid-19 coronavirus shook up the market, there was a trend by Avaya’s customers to move towards more flexible environments that could support better customer experiences across multiple comms channels.

Recent earnings indicate the progress the firm has made, with software and services now accounting for 88% of its $682m revenues, and cloud and subscription revenues having also increased.

Avaya has been pushing the cloud software and services message for a while, but the firm has cautioned its partners around the need to work with customers’ existing legacy equipment.

“We have done infrastructure in stages and steps...to move to a subscription model and something that is consumable in an opex model,” said Fadi Moubarak, channel vice-president at Avaya.

Moving in stages has benefited channel partners that were also looking to change their business models and enhance their private and public cloud propositions.

Avaya has been holding face-to-face online events to prepare partners for the arrival of Cloud Office, and there will continue to be some virtual activity over the rest of this month.

“We have already done a series of webinars and we are doing an official launch on 18 June,” said Moubarak. “Every day, there is some activity.”

He said the solution had a wide target audience and the channel could pitch it at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprise customers that were looking for UCaaS.

There has been plenty of talk about the changes of the past few months, with many workers now based at home, and Avaya is also expecting the current status quo to last for some time.

When customers started to send their contact centre staff home, the vendor provided them with the option of taking up temporary or permanent licences to cover those employees. The majority opted for the permanent option.

The flexibility provided by a subscription model has proved useful given the agility customers are demanding from suppliers at the moment.

“A core component of the channel community is helping the customers with the cloud environment,” said Moubarak, adding that those delivering support were “playing a critical role as the trusted advisor”.

One of the consequences of Avaya’s move towards a cloud, software and services organisation is that its appeal to the channel is also widening.

The firm has been making sure it communicates about its direction with existing partners and has also been doubling-down on service providers to alert them to the potential extent of a relationship with the vendor.

Moubarak is working hard to make sure it can support business partners, systems integrators and the growing number of managed service providers (MSPs) that are looking for a UCaaS solution to add to their portfolio.

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